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Step 2: Finding the Best Plance for My Access

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Lifeline for a Lifetime

Step 2: Finding the Best Place for My Access

How will the surgeon know what type of access is best for me and where it should go?

To find the best place for your access, the surgeon needs to have a picture of your blood vessels before he or she does surgery. This test is called “vessel mapping.” It is a simple test done with an ultrasound machine. No needles are used during the test. Some surgeons do their own vessel maps. But since not all do, you might need to go to someone other than your surgeon to have the map done. This test will be set up by either your surgeon or your dialysis care team.

After the test, your surgeon will review the vessel map. The map will help the surgeon decide what type of access is the best for you and where it should go.

I have my vessel map. What should I do now?

While you are waiting to meet with your surgeon, you need to take care of your veins. Here are some tips to help you do that.

DO:
  • Tell the person taking your blood that you are going to have an access in your arm, or that you already have one in your arm.
  • Ask them to use the veins on the back of your hands
DON’T:
  • Let anyone take blood from the veins in your arms above your wrists.
  • Let anyone give you a shot in your upper arm.
  • Let anyone take your blood pressure in the arm with your access